Prompts honest discussions with teens
"As many who have a teenage boy can relate to, having open communications about personal topics with a high school senior applying to college can be a challenge. The Talking College cards presented us with simple, non-threatening, non-confrontational questions to ask him about the many aspects of the college life he will be experiencing in less than a year. What is great about these questions is that they are simple, direct, and relevant. Furthermore, they cover a lot of ground, running the gamut of topics (e.g. social life, academics, health, spirituality) and substance (i.e. from mundane to intense) encouraging him to really think about what it will be like to transition to college and the independence that goes with it. We were pleasantly surprised at how open and honest our son was in his answers; he willingly shared his thoughts and was not just giving answers that he wanted us to hear."
-parents of a high school student, CA
Applicable to all family experiences
"The Talking College card deck is ideal for college-bound students and families as they navigate the terrains of higher education. The cards explore topics related to the collegiate experience such as developing healthy relationships, co-curricular involvement, managing academics, self-care, finances and much more. These cards are ideal for first-generation college students, students of color, and families experiencing the nuances of college for the first time. They are great conversation starters as students and families prepare for the next steps in their education!"
-Jonathan A. McElderry, Ph.D, Dean of Student Inclusive Excellence & Assistant Professor, Elon University
Bridging generations through conversation
"One of the great things about being a "grandpa" is that grandkids come to me for talks (and hopefully wisdom) that are sometimes awkward to discuss with their parents and I am happy to oblige. HOWEVER, I graduated from college 50 years ago! College and kids' lives have changed "a little" since then. Dr. Brenner's cards (and book) offer a great bridge between timeless life lessons and current day challenges for college-aged kids. In addition, they often open doors to other topics that need to be discussed. Well thought out and not intimidating, these cards have been a bonus for my credibility and an investment in future relationships with grand kids."
-grandparent of a high school student, MD
Building new college communities through dialogue
“Each family who joins our Parent & Family Association receives a welcome gift. This summer we introduced the Talking College™ cards as an item for our families who join. So far, families have loved them! We introduce the cards at orientation, so they are familiar with them when it is time to start conversations with their student. We wanted to create an opportunity for incoming families at orientation to engage, connect, and network with each other while learning each other’s stories. At orientation, we talk a lot about expectations and wanted to ensure families could continue the conversations relating to the student transition. Therefore, we created a session titled ‘Critical Conversations’ where families are placed in a small group, can connect, and talk through a theme from a Talking College™ card. So far – we have had overwhelming good feedback. Many family members have a light bulb moment where they see that so many other families have similar victories and challenges as it relates to the transition."
-Kayla Hubbard , Sr. Coordinator, Parent and Family Services, Student Academic Success
The University of Memphis
Field-tested method for starting college preparation
"Offering parents information about their child’s approaching college transition, is something I have been doing for years. But equipping parents with resources for applying that information was missing. Several months ago, I was fortunate enough to hear Dr. Brenner speak to a group of colleagues. Immediately, I saw in Dr. Brenner the often overlooked, but most important piece—the ‘transitioning to college’ preparation. I quickly realized what an asset Dr. Brenner brings to college professionals, high school counselors and especially parents in helping students successfully launch to college. I also perceived that this preparation should begin sooner rather than the summer before college. My ‘aha’ moment led me to purchase Dr. Brenner’s Talking College™ Card Deck for my rising seniors (next year, I plan to encourage this activity even earlier with rising juniors). The card deck provides a disarming approach in promoting healthy discussions between parents and their child on universal topics every student will face at college."
-Patricia A. Nehme, Certified Educational Planner, MyEduAdvisor, TX
Created with first-hand knowledge of first-year experiences
"This card deck clearly reflects Dr. Brenner’s comprehensive, firsthand knowledge of the college transition today—as a college transition educator, an author, a professor, a sociologist, and a parent. Each card provides a light-bulb moment that anticipates the wide array of decisions and new experiences a first-year college student must navigate, and offers an accessible, interactive way for families to have important conversations. I’m struck by how the cards address potentially difficult topics in ways that are non-judgmental, non-alarmist, and do not presume a default family culture, structure, or socioeconomic status. Furthermore, while thoughtfully designed for parent-student interaction, the card deck could also be immensely helpful for students, parents, or even college staff and faculty, to use on their own to better understand the crucibles of college transition today. As a university professor, I believe the Talking College™ card deck would greatly increase an incoming first-year student’s chances of success and well-being, both in and out of the classroom."
-Angie Chuang, Associate Professor of Journalism & Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies, University of Colorado Boulder
Boosting college preparedness for marginalized students
"The Talking College™ cards are a fantastic resource for rising college students, parents, and counselors. As a college counselor for first-generation, low-income students, I work with a team to ensure that our scholars are prepared for the many issues they will face as they enter college. Many of the cards reflect the exact issues we discuss, and others gave me new ideas for conversations to help me prepare my students and their parents for what to expect before their child leaves for school. I will definitely be using the Talking College™ cards and encouraging others in the field to do the same!"
-Jennifer Schwartz, Counselor, Collegiate Directions, Inc.
Accessible, tactile resource for all types of learners
"I am a Certified Life & Executive Function Coach and purchased Dr. Brenner's Talking College™ card deck for use with the high school students and college students I work with during their transition to college. I am really impressed at how the cards offer conversation starter questions on so many topics associate with college including budgeting and spending, roommates and friendships, mental health, and much else. I have enjoyed the conversations these cards have helped start with the students I work with and highly recommend this card deck to practitioners and clinicians who support soon-to-be or current college students."
-Anne Sabagh, Certified Life Coach, Neurodiverse Universe Life & Executive Function Coaching, VA
Addressing complex issues with balance and clarity
“Andrea Malkin Brenner’s Talking College™ Card Deck is a tremendous resource for students and parents alike. The transition to college is often a time of unspoken assumptions and expectations, both for the student launching into college, and for their parents and family. This card deck offers a very accessible and creative way to begin the conversations that are needed to bring these issues to the surface. Brenner has captured so many of the critical issues in this transition, and the card deck format makes for easy conversations. Brenner provides questions and topics that are real, relevant, and at times uncomfortable. She addresses complex issues, like Greek life and financial obligations, with balance and clarity. This is the best format I can imagine for diving into these vital issues. Picking out one or a few cards for a talk over dinner is much easier than turning to the correct page in a lengthy book. While college transition books certainly have their place, this card deck will make real conversations flow, and both students and parents will be the winners."
-Todd A. Olson, Ph.D. President, Mount Mercy University
Formerly Vice President for Student Affairs, Georgetown University
A little deck of big ideas
"This little deck of Talking College™ cards can open the door to needed communication between parents and their college-bound students. Andrea Malkin Brenner has drawn on years of higher education experience to develop a clever way to deal with the issues of college life that students and parents sometimes find difficult to discuss. If you have a soon-to-be first-year college student, you will enjoy these prompts and find them valuable in helping your student break away while still maintaining important family connections."
-John Gardner, Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, Founding Executive Director and Senior Fellow of the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus, University of South Carolina.